Recently emerged videos dated March 24, 2020, and available on YouTube have shown that Russia’s Su-57 Felon fighter jet’s production line engineers are using AR to assist them with the aircraft’s assembly. However, it is not clear if the AR tech is already in use or if it still in development.
The videos show how the Su-57 fighter jet assembly line at Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant of the United Aircraft Corporation looks when viewed through an AR headset. The augmented reality technology provides an interactive view of a real-world environment, with the overlaid computer-generated perceptual information that provides the user with a blend of virtual and real objects.
The augmented reality appears to work using QR codes that are attached to different important Su-57 assemblies, which are then scanned by the technician. This, in turn, calls up the appropriate augmented reality algorithm that overlays digital imagery of the various sub-assemblies and components, which helps engineers identify where parts go.
It shows an augmented reality version of the Su-57’s main undercarriage overlaid on the real-world segment of the center fuselage barrel. It also shows various internal rivets and attachment points and virtual cables indicating where each item has to be installed. An augmented reality-based touchscreen allows the engineers to select different options, which guides them through different steps of the production process, and safety advice.
Another part of the video shows the user interface, which is a visor-style headset, rather than the lightweight AR eyewear that is now available. Also, since the production-line engineers are used to wearing some sort of goggles or safety glasses, introducing another layer of AR-based eyewear should not create any inconvenience.
Both the videos portray the potential for using augmented reality as a basic part of the assembly line. This should potentially result in greater productivity and efficiency within the production plant. Production of Su-57 at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant dates back to a long time, with Sukhoi being awarded a contract from the Russian Ministry of Defense for the development, test, and construction of the T-50 prototypes back in 2003.
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